A wild tale about Jim Thorpe.
John: Great article on Jim Thorpe. I have to take issue however with one thing you said ("Those two towns agreed to merge and become Jim Thorpe, Pa. Nevermind that Thorpe himself had never even set foot in the region.")
On the contrary, John! Jim Thorpe gives us a clue in his comment about just being "an Indian school boy." Thorpe was probably the most distinguished alumnus of the Carlisle (PA) Indian School. The school is now long gone, but the the US Army War College now occupies the lovely campus, where there is a very nice statue of Jim Thorpe.
I know that because my son, an Oregon National Guard officer, spent a year at Carlisle, courtesy of the Army, where he got an MA in Strategic Studies. I had the privilege of visiting my son and his family there on several occasions while he was in residence, and I walked their dog many times past the statue of the great Jim Thorpe!
Carlisle is about 100 miles from Jim Thorpe, PA and a little bit west of Harrisburg on the Susquehanna River. Jim Thorpe's football career started playing for the Carlisle Indians. His coach at Carlisle was the famous Pop Warner and the Carlisle Indians went 11-1 against Ivy League opponents one year Thorpe was there. They were most famous for upsetting Harvard at home!
A lot of real interesting American sports history there John! Thorpe's legend is even bigger than your article would suggest!! But you're still my favorite sports writer! Good job in general, by the way!!
Great story, and I love the Fresno and Fresno Bee origins. We have Fresno Bee and Charlie Waters in common, JC. Soon after you started there, Charlie called from Fresno (I was in L.A.) to rave about this sports guy he had hired. He's destined for great things, he said. Years later when we worked in same city again, he told me over lunch that he considered John Canzano as maybe his best hire ever.
Another fine Canzano vignette of an athlete deserving so much more recognition and accolades. Our Native Americans deserve much better treatment and consideration for their accomplishments in sports and beyond. Thank you for this revelation!
My favorite biographer/historian David Maraniss has an upcoming book on Jim Thorpe. It'll be out in early August. Can't wait to read it and your tale is a good teaser.
Keep up the amazing work John.
Great Story. We should also remember that, for local flavor, Jim Thorpe played for the Portland Beavers is 1922.
Jim Thorpe, All-American, the movie (1951). Has there ever been better casting in Hollywood than Burt Lancaster in that role?
Great story, John!
I have read two. read Jim Thorpe biographies All before the age of 12! I was not aware this story at all. Thank you.
Jim Thorpe was an accomplished athlete and well known in the world. He was native American Indian so truly a great example of an American.
Great story JC..Jim Thorpe actually played Pacific coast league Baseball here in Portland for the Beavers in 1922..A mere 35 games near the end of his Baseball career at age 35.
It's amazing how a backstory of an athlete is often much more intriguing than their bewildering athletic achievements. I hope the book coming out mentioned below is a complete, unabridged biography. The Louis Zamporini book, Unbroken, is an example.
Mr. Thorpe's life is fantastic and tragic.
Maybe a movie about him should be called "Dream of Fields".
Well Done John, a story I have not heard before, he deserves to be remembered, Thanks for the reminder!
Thanks for the history lesson, John
Loved the "Jim Thorpe, All American" movie which starred Burt Lancaster when I was growing up. Jim Thorpe was truly amazing, and his backstory is worth knowing.
A great sports legend and a story that is bigger than sports.
One of my favorite athletes to study when I was a kid. Knew most of this stuff... but the phony town naming is a new one. Love learning more about our superstars of the past. As I recall, after receiving his Olympic awards from the King, Jim replied "Thanks, king." A quote making machine, he was...
I read a biography “Jim Thorpe: All American” when I was in high school in the 50’s. It really impressed me. One factoid stuck with me all this time : his ability to drop kick a field goal from the 50 yard line, turn around and do it again in the other direction. The drop kick is now a dinosaur bone.